National Grid ESO balances supply and demand to ensure homes and businesses in Great Britain have the electricity that they need around the clock.
As the grid manages new supply and demand complexities, such as integrating a wider mix of greener energy through, for example, the greater use of hydrogen and offshore wind farms, the need grows for more technologies to support it.
National Grid ESO and Energy Exemplar have announced a multi-million-pound three-year agreement to use the unified energy market simulation platform, PLEXOS, to support this transition.
PLEXOS, through advanced mathematical simulations, will help National Grid ESO identify the most cost-efficient ways to expand the electricity grid, reach more consumers and help further manage the integration of renewable energies and enable the transition to a carbon-neutral UK energy system.
Modelling with the PLEXOS software will enable National Grid ESO to future-proof the grid, while also retiring older parts of the energy network.
These are essential steps to ensure consumers have no disruptions to supply, while the UK transitions to a low carbon economy.
Michael Schneider, Senior Vice President and Head of EMEA at Energy Exemplar, says: “The next few years will be crucial in laying the foundations for this transition and the ability to integrate new technologies at scale. Our PLEXOS software will provide a key capability to support the continued and proud tradition of UK energy innovation which started in 1881, when Britain provided the world’s first public power supply in Godalming, Surrey, with energy generated from a water wheel.”
PLEXOS modelling will help to inform future versions of the Future Energy Scenarios report, which set out potential pathways to net zero by or before 2050. PLEXOS scenarios will also help shape the Network Operations Assessment report, a document published by the National Grid ESO each year with recommendations for where the transmission system needs investment and strengthening – particularly important when it considers a more diverse energy mix and reaching more remote areas of the country.
Iain Shepherd, Enhanced Network Capability Development Manager at National Grid ESO, comments: “PLEXOS will further strengthen the analysis the ESO undertakes to identify the optimal pathways to net zero and will support the ESO in assessing the optimal pathways for future network infrastructure decisions. This will ensure that we can continue to deliver a secure and reliable network that delivers value for consumers as we move towards net zero.”
Energy Exemplar’s tool was selected for its versatility and ability to plan across both power and gas systems rather than, as has historically been the case, treating them as separate networks – which provides further benefits to consumers as it allows planners to view the system as a whole and predict energy needs more accurately. Insights gathered from modelling will help National Grid ESO to anticipate and respond to market changes efficiently, optimising decision-making and help to save on overall system costs.
The contract contains a three-year fixed period with two one-year optional extensions.